Do you ever catch yourself sitting at your desk and realize you're not really breathing (or maybe really shallow quiet breaths)?
Or maybe you're running around all day and you suddenly realized you've been contracting the muscles in your stomach.
Or you've been so focused that someone has actually asked you if you're breathing!
Either way, holding our breath or constantly taking shallow breaths is an indicator that we're in "fight or flight mode" i.e. producing cortisol.
And if you haven't noticed, start paying attention to a few things:
1) When you breathe, does the breath go all the way down into your stomach? (If it doesn't, start practicing!)
2) When you go through your day, do you forget to eat, forget to drink water, or forget you have to go to the bathroom? (This is a signal you're in "fight or flight" mode)
3) At the end of the day do you have the experience that you're totally drained and it's the first time you've been able to relax all day?
These are all signs that you might be chronically stressed or operating in "fight or flight mode".
So why is this important to your eating habits?? Here's why:
Being in "fight or flight mode" produces cortisol in your body. Cortisol in short bursts is okay, but when we are constantly in "fight or flight" mode we can experience adrenal fatigue, high emotions, being extra tired at the end of the day, insulin resistance (you're not metabolizing sugar correctly), and a slowed digestive tract.
That results in binge eating, craving sugar to balance out the stress AND your body can't metabolize it properly, and bloating (which typically has us crave more comfort foods).
The good news is, it doesn't cost any money or require much time to switch your body from "fight or flight mode" (activating your sympathetic nervous system) to "rest and digest" activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
All it takes is deep controlled breathing! Research now shows that controlled breathing can completely shift you from "fight or flight" to "rest and digest"! Read about it here.
So set a reminder this week, 3 times per day to take 10 breaths! It will make a huge difference in your stress levels and your eating habits!